Los Mocosos

American Us

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American Us is the third album from Bay Area groove outfit Los Mocosos. Here, they very competently take on the sound of other Latin fusion groups, à la Ozomatli. The album opens up with the highest energy piece the band has to offer in "Bandolera Era," a high speed bit of salsa shockingly similar to Ozomatli's "Chango." As the album progresses, the band moves into some classic-'50s style crooning (somewhere between Ritchie Valens and Los Lonely Boys), some light R&B, and some fusions of funky guitar and bass riffs with both song and Latin-infused hip-hop. Meeting the necessary inclusion of political statement for modern fusion outfits, "Señor Presidente" warns of a revolution. "In the House" provides a nice throwback to the Bambaataa era with its intro, and continues the sociopolitical lyrics through to "The Beast." "Bacalao" provides an outlet for a straightforward bit of Latin hip-hop while simultaneously throwing in aspects of mambo and social statement. The range of styles is pretty diverse, as it is with many such current groups. The music itself is the key here -- much of it has been heard in various incarnations before, but the ability to tie the pieces together into a coherent and likeable whole is a talent. That talent makes this album worth a listen, especially for the seldom-heard styles ('50s ballads, etc).

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